The £40m General Practice Resilience Programme will help struggling practices by delivering local resources, which may include local resilience teams or pools of experienced GPs and other practice staff, to help with practice management, recruitment issues, and capacity. To help plan and implement changes that will support practices become more sustainable and resilient. The first £16 million of the overall funding has now been allocated to help GPs and their teams across the county.
In December 2015, NHS England committed to invest £10m in external support to struggling practices of greatest concern. The Vulnerable Practice Programme prioritised 900 practices for support and around a further 200 practices identified in reserve by local teams working with CCGs and LMCs.
NHS England local teams have been developing support offers to practices and in many cases this is now being delivered, including diagnostic assessments and practical advice and help to secure agreed improvements. In some areas we are seeing dedicated resilience teams put in place to work with practices locally. This support complements the work of the RCGP peer support programme providing turnaround support for practices in CQC special measures.
The additional £40m will now be used to deliver the General Practice Resilience Programme, starting with a £16m investment boost in 2016/17 which will help NHS England’s local teams to extend a wider menu of support quickly to even more practices this year.
- The menu of support will extend from support to help stabilise practice operations where these is a risk of closure, through to more transformational support that will secure practice resilience in to the future. Support will include ‘upstream’ support – support to those practices where pressures may not be as acute as other practices but who are struggling nonetheless.
- Practices will be identified by local teams using the same national criteria applied in the Vulnerable Practice Programme which includes CCG and LMC input and supports assessment of practices that self-refer for improvement support. This means the additional resources can be used ensure support is made available to even more practices this year.
- Support will be free to practices, conditional only on matched commitment from practices, evidence through an agreed action plan/memorandum of understanding.
Guidance describing how the programme will operate is now published including detailing the funding available to each NHS England local team for use to secure support for practices in their area.